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The Ultimate Chicago Neighborhood Map


Chicago is often described as a city of neighborhoods, so we thought what better way to show Chicago off than creating the ultimate Chicago neighborhood map.

Our Chicago neighborhood map is the combination of two maps: 1) a map of Chicago neighborhoods designed by Kevin Zolkiewicz who used Chicago.gov data to create a visualization of each neighborhood’s borders and 2) a data mapping tool RentLingo created called the Charm Index that shows how charming neighborhoods are.

The Charm Index visualizes how charming areas are based on data concerning the quality, price and ownership of businesses. Data on safety and crime also play a part in determining charm scores as well as the availability of healthy local lifestyles (farmer markets, walkways, parks, and gyms) and community institutions (universities, museums, libraries, etc).

Thus, you have RentLingo’s Chicago neighborhood map. Combining both of these mapping technologies provides a clear understanding of how charming each Chicago neighborhood is and what the best neighborhoods in Chicago are. We’ve provided local insights on the best Chicago neighborhoods as well in addition to conclusions offered by the Charm Index.

Chicago’s Best Neighborhoods:

Using information from the Charm Index and the insights from local residents, we named some of Chicago’s best neighborhoods below and what life will be like if you move there. Since everyone claims that their neighborhood is the best, if yours didn’t make the list, leave us a comment below telling us what makes your neighborhood awesome.

West Loop:

West Loop

Photo by: By TonyTheTiger at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3063322

Most Charming Area: W. Randolph Street and W. Washington Street

Just about anyone in West Loop will tell you that it is one of the best neighborhoods in Chicago for young professionals and families. It’s pricey, but there’s a reason why. The neighborhood is bursting with great shops and restaurants and Randolph Street in particular is nicknamed Restaurant Row. Travel and food blogger, Amber Gibson, gave us the inside scoop on her favorite West Loop restaurants which included Oriole, El Che Bar, Monteverde, and Formento’s.

West Loop has become a destination for many high profile tech companies such as Google, Twitter, Rise Interactive, Field glass and more. It makes sense. Chicago’s one of the U.S.’s most powerful cities and West Loop is one Chicago’s favorite neighborhoods for young professionals.

That being said, you might expect the cost of living to be high for West Loop. It’s correct. The average cost for a two bedroom apartment is about $2500.

Hyde Park:

Hyde Park

Most Charming Areas: Who are we kidding, it’s all charming

Hyde Park might be one of the most picturesque Chicago neighborhoods. Being home to the University of Chicago lends the entire neighborhood to a studious and historical atmosphere. A combination of tree-lined streets, mansions and the university’s Gothic look come together to create a unique feeling for any resident. Most residents are somehow connected with the university, whether they are students or faculty. Hyde Park is often considered one of the safest areas of Chicago as well due to the part that the university police play in patrolling the neighborhood.

Hyde Park is sandwiched between Washington Park and Jackson Park which makes it one of the best neighborhoods in Chicago for those that love the outdoors. Both runners and cyclists will love the Lakefront Trail, an 18.5 mile that runs from Jackson Park up the coast of Lake Michigan all the way up to Edgewater.

Bucktown and Wicker Park:

Bucktown and Wicker Park

Photo: Ben Collins-Sussman - https://www.flickr.com/photos/bcollsuss/21394597848/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44840580

Bucktown’s Most Charming Areas: N. Damen Avenue and W. Armitage Avenue

Wicker Park’s Most Charming Areas: N. Damen Avenue and N. Milwaukee Avenue

Both residents and the Charm Index show these two neighborhoods to be two of Chicago’s best neighborhoods. Each neighborhood is loaded with great local restaurants and boutiques while maintaining a low key vibe. It’s a short ride on the expressway from the Loop or just a 20 minute ride on the Blue Line.

Travel and food writer Amber Gibson (@AmberGib) notes that Bucktown (which is already underrated) is home to one of the best (and most underrated) restaurants in the city, The Bristol. Some other unique shops in the area are BFF Bikes, Cat and Mouse Game Store, and Apartment9 (a very cool, very hip, local clothing retailer).

Carolyn Moretti (@cpelissero), a local resident with an expertise in Chicago’s best restaurants and bars, notes the Presidio as the best place for a cocktail and the Chop Shop, a local butcher and deli, that makes the best sandwiches ever.

Logan Park:

Most Charming Areas: Logan Square and N. Milwaukee Avenue

Logan Park gets a lot of heat for being the hipster capital of Chicago. We’re not going to argue with that statement. The Charm Index rates it highly for its theatres, book stores, and farmer market (among other factors). Also, the neighborhood has restaurants and bars popping up all over the place and has a distinctively youthful demographic. Better yet, the neighborhood isn’t perfect and not the top on the list of tourist destinations.

Ashley Christensen (@amcnewcitylife), a local travel and food blogger, gave us the inside scoop on some of Logan Park’s favorite spots. She mentioned Scofflaw, a bar notorious for giving out free cookies at midnight as well as its delectable cocktails and prohibition-style atmosphere and Señor Pan: a super affordable, super tasty Cuban cuisine restaurant.

Perhaps what is Logan Park’s most recent major addition to the neighborhood might be the 606. The 606 is a newly constructed urban trail that is great for walking, biking and running. It runs along the borders of Bucktown, Logan Square, Wicker Park, and Humboldt Park and serves as a great and environmentally-friendly avenue for transportation.

Lake View:

Lake View

Most Charming Areas: N. Clack Street and W. Belmont Avenue

While every resident likes to refer to their neighborhood as the best, Lake View is often considered one of Chicago’s best neighborhoods. Really, it is. It’s just hard to separate Lakeview and the word charming from one another.

According to Lake View’s Charm Index rating, it’s most charming areas are along N. Clark Street and W. Belmont Avenue. If you are looking for a neighborhood with everything within walking distance, check out these and nearby streets for supreme convenience. There are all sorts of great, local cafes and shops such as Bad Wolf Coffee (N. Lincoln), Pick Me Up Café (N. Clark), Howard’s Wine Cellar (W Belmont Avenue) among more.

Lake View’s main demographic falls between the ages of 25-34 with a very high percentage (over 70%) having a college degree. So, if you are tired of the college atmosphere, Lakeview is a great option, though if you have kids you’re going to be in the minority. In fact, most of Lakeview’s housing and apartment options are best suited for singles since there’s a good difference in ration between single/studio apartments versus 2+bedrooms.

Lakeview realtor, Debra Dobbs (@DebraDobbs) describes Lake View’s variety like this:  "On the east you have the lake, Belmont Harbor and the Diversey driving range, in the middle you have Wrigley Field and to the west you have the vibrant Southport Corridor. Where else can you golf, sail, enjoy a wide variety of ethnic and American food, listen to great jazz and take in a movie in a 87 year old theatre - all within the same neighborhood?"

The Loop:

The Loop

Most Charming Areas: W. Washington Street and N. Garland Court

No list of Chicago neighborhoods is complete without a piece on the Loop. The Loop is Chicago’s city center and is where you’ll find Chicago’s most condensed population, best restaurants, and finest urban living.

The Loop is the heart of Chicago culture. Chicago’s Theatre District is located in the Loop and is where you will find some of the best performances in the country at theatres such as the Goodman Theatre, the Auditorium Theatre, and the Cadillac Palace – just to name a few.

And if there is one thing that the Loop is known for, it is the many amazing restaurants. Chicago foodie, Cara Zizzo (@CaraZizzo), gave us the lowdown on one of the Loop’s best: Prime & Provisions. This steakhouse is a regular receiver of awards from Chicago Magazine and Chicago-Tribune food critic. If you like a great steak, check out Prime and Provisions first.

Getting around the city is easiest from the Loop, whether you are working in the Loop and live outside, or you feel like going to a Cubs game in Wrigleyville. Though, you don’t need to go far to escape the city since the Loop’s has two parks located right against the Monroe Harbor: Millennium and Grant.

The Loop’s median household has an income of $80,994 and since the population of the Loop has more than doubled since 2000-2010 according to the latest Census Data, it goes without saying that Loop living is expensive. The average rent for a one bedroom apartment goes for about $2000.

Little Italy / UIC

Little Italy UIC

Most Charming Areas: UIC, W. Taylor Street, S. Racine Avenue

It might not be as glamorous or hyped-up as some of the other Chicago neighborhoods, but Little Italy and UIC is a great option for students or commuters to the Loop. It’s a charming area that is still reasonably priced. University of Illinois at Chicago is located in the neighborhood as is Chicago’s Little Italy. But this is a great combination since what’s better for college students that excellent Italian food?

The Charm Index indicated that Little Italy/UIC’s most charming areas are found most around the University and along W. Taylor Street and S. Racine Avenue. There’s a variety of cafes, restaurants, bookstores and other commercial areas that make for a fun and local community.

These might not be all of Chicago’s best neighborhoods, but they are a handful. Play around with our Chicago neighborhood map to locate the neighborhood that seems best for you. From there, take a look at RentLingo’s apartments for rent in Chicago to find your next place. We also show townhomes for rent in Chicago and low income apartments for rent in Chicago.
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